Tonawanda News — For the third year, Erie County is drawing attention to domestic violence issues with an event planned at Isle View Park in the Town of Tonawanda.
About 200 cyclists and others will gather there at 10 a.m. Saturday to raise awareness about the heart-wrenching problem of domestic violence in the third annual Break the Cycle Bike-a-Thon and Walk.
David Wisniewski, the brother of murder victim Jackie Wisniewski, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend and trauma surgeon Dr. Timothy Jorden on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center in June, will be on hand to speak to the crowd.
“We need to do a better job of protecting those who can not protect themselves,” Wisniewski said in a statement.
The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women is the lead sponsor for the event. Executive Director Sawrie Becker said part of the reason for the event is to send a message of hope to victims past and present.
"I think this year it's going to be even more powerful with the presence of David and several members of his family," Becker said. "I think it's an important opportunity to come together in her honor to hopefully carry on her spirit."
Wisniewski's murder made national news after she was shot at the hospital and police searched for Jorden who they initially thought fled the country before finding his body in a wooded area where he shot himself.
Becker added that raising awareness about the predominance of domestic violence is foremost among the commission's goals, while opening up the doors to those who feel trapped in the sometimes untenable cycle of violence.
More than 1.5 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States, according to the National Institute of Justice and Center for Disease Control, while about 1,000 are killed.